Dr Edward Koch Foundation


Dr Edward Koch Foundation

The Dr Edward Koch Foundation was established in July 1995 for the health and well-being of North Queenslanders. The first project, the Suicide Prevention handbook, was approved in the same year with funds coming from Queensland Health’s Cairns Integrated Mental Health. The way was set for the Foundation to develop its future projects.

The Foundation’s objectives are to improve health and well-being of North Queenslanders, conduct health research and development projects, promote and initiate preventive and educational health programs and link with other groups with similar objectives in Far North Queensland.

Patron-in-Chief of the Foundation is Her Excellency, the Honourable Jeanette Young, PSM, Governor of Queensland.

The Foundation’s Life Program focuses on mental health issues, suicide prevention and postvention as Cairns and the Far North Queensland region has been recognised to have a significantly higher incidence of suicide than city regions. Prevention is a key element of the Program, particularly in the areas of mental illness, suicide and self-harm. The Program is active in promoting and engaging in activities which reduce the risk factors for suicide for the community at large, but also includes targeted interventions for youth, LGBT+ persons, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and Indigenous populations. It provides a range of services as below:• FNQ Suicide Prevention Taskforce
Volunteer members from health and welfare agencies tasked to implement, support and promote strategies which aim to reduce suicide and self-harm.

• Life Suicide Awareness and Prevention Workshops
These workshops aim to provide individuals with a set of basic skills which assist in recognising when someone may be at risk of suicide, provide ways of responding to that person’s need, and help in establishing community networks of support. Workshops are suitable for all.

• Delivery of the accredited Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course
The Foundation has fully qualified instructors who deliver the 12 hour accredited Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course on a regular basis to individuals who wish to learn how to assist people experiencing mental health problems.

• Backyard Makeover Program
Conducted in the Cairns area and established to improve mental, social and physical outcomes for isolated residents who require assistance with a small makeover of their back yard. Its purpose is to improve mental health, reduce isolation and loneliness and increase social connection and wellbeing.

• The ‘All of Us’ Festival
Held at Fogarty Park, Cairns during Qld Mental Health Week in October. The prolonged isolation stresses brought about by COVID-19 restrictions has negatively affected our community’s mental health and cohesiveness. The festival aims to raise awareness of the importance of mental health and link the community with mental health resources available to all Cairns residents, including minority populations such as CALD, LGBT+ & Indigenous peoples.

– Activities planned include: a large variety concert, games, face painting, market stalls and food vans, all with a nod to Cairns’ multicultural roots.

– Mental health agencies will showcase what they do to make our community aware of the resources available to support mental health for aAlthough mostly an awareness raising project, any income derived will go towards our mental-health focused “Backyard Makeover Program”

• The Simply Ballroom Dance Studio
Offering weekly ballroom dance classes, not only as a fundraising activity of the Foundation, but also for the opportunity to improve their mental and physical health. Weekly classes are open to beginners and advanced alike, no prior experience necessary! The Simply Ballroom students have participated in live ballroom dance demonstrations around the region to uplift communities such as those in aged care homes, and spread the joy of dance.

For more information about the foundation and its activities in the region: www.kochfoundation.org.au

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